A/N: This is just a small piece from a novel I have been working on for years now. It was started when I was in high school, about a group of friends that end up in a haunted house that feeds on their regrets from life. It is supposed to be a horror story, but a more intimate one. I have been trying to find exactly the right way to do it, and the right way to write the characters. I think I have finally figured out the characters enough to give the story another try.
This is James and Luke a couple with secrets that are slowly eating them alive.
James stood staring at himself in the mirror, a grin slowly expanding, encapsulating his entire face. The hair was perfect, after so many months searching he had finally found the perfect fit. The strands were soft with just enough curl to give them a bit of bounce but not too much to make the body out of control. The strawberry blonde color fit perfectly with his olive toned skin. The bangs rested just above his grey blue eyes, giving his face the perfect frame he had always envisioned.
He twisted a lock around his index finger fully enjoying the fact that he could actually twist the piece around and around. He closed his eyes trying to envision the entire outfit in his mind’s eye.
Bold red lips, eyes lined subtly with black and no other make up on his face. A long midnight black dress, swirling across the floor. A thigh high slit on the side giving a peek at his silver four inch heels. He spun in a circle, completely entranced by the beauty before him.
A door snapped shut from the living room and the whole image shattered around him. His eyes flew open and he quickly pulled the wig from his head, throwing it under the bed. Shoving it under the bed as far as he could with the side of his foot and then taking up a spot in front of the mirror. He ran his fingers through his short brown locks, unflattening it and making it look his normal just woke up, messy manner.
“You going somewhere?” a voice asked from the doorway. Heartbeat still pounding in his ears, fingers just beginning to cease their shaking, James just shrugged. “Why?” he asked, trying desperately to sound calm and nonchalant.
“You don’t normally stand in the mirror messing with your hair. That’s my job,” his boyfriend joked.
James looked over and half smiled at him, “Bad hair day,” he said.
“Sure,” Luke said. “I’ll pretend to buy that,” he laughed.
James laughed with him, though he knew it sounded strained and a bit off kilter. Luke gave him a half smile, half frown, before shrugging and leaving the room. No other words, no more prying.
James let out a deep breath and sat down on the bed. His heart was almost at normal pace again and his brain was once again comprehending its surroundings. That had been much too close. James knew he would have to be more careful from now on, not let himself get so carried away.
He knelt down and retrieved his precious wig. He straightened the strands and combed out any knots. Once it was perfect again he went to the closet, underneath a bunch of old coats and discarded empty boxes, was a suitcase that only James possessed the key to. He carefully laid the blond wig on top of the black dress and beside the silver heels.
He sighed, laying his head on the soft silk and held in the tears. Taking one deep calming breath he closed the case, locked it and pushed it back into its hidden depths.
Luke went into the kitchen, opened a cupboard and just stood there staring at the bowls, cups and plates. The familiar shapes and dulls blues and greens washed into a haze as his mind detached and ran away from him.
It had been three weeks since Luke had accidentally found the dress and heels in the closet. He had been trying to retrieve an escaped tie when he had uncovered the suitcase that he had had no idea existed. With very little effort he had pulled the light case out and into the room.
In the light of the room he saw it was a medium sized black case. There were no markings, no signs at all on it to give even the smallest clue as to what was inside the case. Curiosity getting the best of him, he had gone to open it when he discovered it was locked.
Locked yes, but not very well. It was a generic tiny padlock that came with all suitcases. It took only half a minute for Luke to find a safety pin to pick the lock. Before he had actually opened it he had held the lock tight in his fist feeling terribly guilty.
The suitcase was not his which meant it had to be James’s. He had gone through the trouble of not only hiding the case but locking it up as well; which meant whatever was inside was not for Luke to see. But why? Why couldn’t Luke know this part of James?
Maybe he was a secret agent spy and these were all his fake passports and birth certificates. Or maybe he had old love letters in there, hiding them to keep Luke from feeling jealous. What else could it be? What could he be hiding? What could be so important it had to be locked away?
Curiosity was too evil a temptress. With shaking hands and a racing heart Luke had opened his eyes to find a plain little black dress and silver high heels that made Luke cringe with pain at the idea of wearing them. Luke had stared at the outfit, running through a whole range of emotions from anger to confusion. He hadn’t known what to do or think, he had quickly replaced the case without a second thought. Pushed it back into the black depths of the closet, hoping it would just disappear.
That had been three weeks and two days ago. Luke hadn’t said a word to James and James hadn’t said a word about it to Luke. Luke had tried dropping hints, asking what he thought of some random woman’s outfit on Tv or asking what he had thought about a drag show they had gone to together. Never once had James let on even a little of what the case was truly for. Was he cross-dressing? Was it just some random memory? Was it even his? Did he want to be a woman?
Luke didn’t even know if any of that mattered. He just wanted to know! The not knowing was driving him freaking insane. Why was James hiding this from him? Why didn’t he trust him with this secret? Was there even a secret to be kept? Luke wanted to throw his head back and scream at the top of his lungs.
The creak of the cupboard’s hinges and the clatter of the wood knocking together brought him back to the present moment. He shook his head, took a deep breath and pulled out a mug. He was pleased to see his grip was mostly steady. After that first night he had promised himself he wouldn’t breakdown until he had all the facts. Then and only then would he spare tears and emotions on this matter.
He was just adding a teaspoon of sugar to his coffee when he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He fished it out, saw it was Julie and quickly answered it. Voice steady and normal sounding, no signs of the drastic confusing breakdown taking place in his head and heart.
“Hey, what’s up?”
“Hey, are you and James busy tonight? Melanie broke up with dumbass and she’s hurting. I thought some friends, drinks and dart throwing would help,” Julie explained. Luke smiled, she was doing a very poor job of hiding the glee and satisfaction in her voice. They had all hated dumbass.
“I don’t know, let me see,” Luke put the phone to his chest and shouted to the other room. “Babe, are we busy tonight?”
“No,” James called back from what sounded like the living room.
“No, we are free,” Luke replied to Julie. “See you at eight?” “Sounds good and thanks,” she hung up.
“We are going to Julie and Mel’s. Mel dumped dumbass and we have to make her realize that was an awesome thing,” Luke called to the living room.
“Cool and about damn time,” James answered back. Nothing else, no explanation for his behavior earlier or a request to talk.
Luke went back to his coffee and began to rebuild the wall around his heart.